Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 1997
National Book Critics Circle, Biography/Autobiography, 1997
Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, movingly read in his own voice, bears all the marks of a classic. Born in Depression-era Brooklyn to Irish immigrant parents, Frank was later raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. His mother, Angela, had no money to feed her children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely worked, and when he did, he drank his wages. Angela's Ashes is the story of how Frank endured - wearing shoes repaired with tires, begging for a pig's head for Christmas dinner, and searching the pubs for his father - a tale he relates with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.
©1997 Frank McCourt, All Rights Reserved; (P)1997 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved, Audioworks is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division Simon & Schuster Inc.
"Frank McCourt is a marvelous writer whose words are made all the better when he reads them aloud..." (Bookpage)
"...one of the best I've heard in years." (The Boston Globe)
"...so good it deserves a sequel" (The New York Times)
Jumps on his bed while licking the bottom of one foot. He persists in this life affirming act despite interference from the head nurse.
I knew Frank McCourt in New York City, although not well. He kept so much to himself I didn't have many interactions with him. He sat on a stool in the corner of his brother Alphie's restaurant/bar on the Upper West Side of New York City, where I worked, sipping a glass of something, always alone. I have a feeling that, like all good autobiographies, some events and characters in Frank's book were enlarged, some reduced, others adjusted and sculptured to focus and shape the narrative. If George Orwell did that sort of thing in books like Down and Out in Paris and London then Frank McCourt deserves the same latitude. Frank certainly re-spun the dialogue from what he remembered, aided by years being as aspiring writer and playwright. Be that as it may, the text rings true and it is a thoroughly enjoyable book, narrated well by its writer. It's a tribute to endurance and decidedly a book worth reading or listening to.
I avoided this book when it won all of its awards because I was somewhat aware of the contents and it just seemed depressing to me. I read Teacher Man and 'Tis by the author and then a book club friend told me this was in audio and read by the author, which I consider a real plus. This is an incredible story of a family in Ireland, abandoned by the father, and their story of survival. McCourt's memory of his childhood is riveting. You will love this book
The book was good, the audiobook is great! The book is read by the author -- which always makes books better, but with the Irish brogue from the author, it makes it a GEM. This is my all-time favorite audiobook, and I'm not even Irish. It's a great story, a great piece of history, a great autobiography, a great audio story.
I expected to like this book, since it was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and it was fine, but after awhile it just got repetitious. Both the story -- sad, poverty-infused anecdote after sad, poverty-infused anecdote -- and the sometimes sing-song narration of the author became just more and more of the same.
I did appreciate the wonderful Irish humor that buoyed the narrative, keeping it just above the surface of total despair. As an American descended from Irish immigrants, I found myself thinking about my deceased mother, who undoubtedly would have loved the book, and imagining the lives of my Irish ancestors.
No, I generally enjoy memoirs.
As the author, he both added and detracted from the book. Since it's a memoir, he lent an authenticity to the story that would have been absent had the book been read by someone else. It was enjoyable to hear his Irish accent ... and yet at times, his delivery became somewhat repetitious (same tone and pitch). In those instances, I think an actor would have done a better job.
I'm unsure. I didn't particularly care for this book. The first half is really boring, and if I had read this instead of listening to it, I might not have stuck with it. However, I was interested enough to listen to the sequels.
I've already listened to the follow-ups "'Tis" and "Teacher Man" is what I'm listening to right now. They are both by and narrated by Frank McCourt.
His story is narrated in his own words with his wonderful accent. It's told in a thoughtful way. The biggest thing that is a unique experience is the singing. In books when the lyrics are in the book, it's always awkward to read it without knowing the tune. Listening to the book give the reader an opportunity to hear the songs.
There is no main character I would cut. Maybe a few of the side characters that add nothing but pages and minutes to the story.
Frank McCourt's narration is just so hilarious, by far the best narration of any audiobook ever. It's always better if the author himself can read his work, and in this case, it is so, so good. Frank, I think I love you.
Really captures the essence of life - sad, funny and beautiful. My favorite quote - "I'd like to be a saint but if that's what it takes I think I'll just stay the way I am."
Frankie, of course. I wanted to know more about what happened after coming to America, and what happen with Malachy. Research commence.
Every. Single. Moment.
If you don't listen to this book you are seriously missing out.
I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.
When I first started listening to this book, I really didn't like it. I had a very hard time following the accent of the narrator. I went to return it and then reread all the reviews, realizing that I needed to give it more time. Like watching a Shakespeare play, the language grows on you and you can follow it easier as you get used to it.
I had a range of emotions while reading this book. I have ancestors who immigrated from Ireland to America and I had to rethink everything I thought I knew about them. I had assumed they came from the vibrant green and cozy Ireland where everyone was spectacularly nice and neighborly. After reading Frank McCourt's autobiography, I realize that my thinking was probably inaccurate. I never realized how stern the Irish were and how miserable and poor so many were. I had heard the stories of the drinking but assumed it was a stereotype; I never realized the damage it did to families. I also didn't understand the impact of the Catholic church on the Irish people and how the families seemed to be motivated by guilt from the church.
This book can be amusing at times, but for the most part it is very serious and very sobering. It was a learning experience for me and I highly recommend that everyone who is interested in the roots of the people who helped build America, read this book.
As I said for the second volume of Frank McCourt's memoir, 'Tis, this book is incredibly moving, blatantly honest, and delightful to the last drop. Not only do you get the joy of hearing an author read his own book, but this particular author has the gift of the voice as well as of the pen, and adds even more emotion to his narration.
First, with Frank McCourt reading his memoir, there is an added air of authenticity to his memories and stories. Second, the way he creates the local denizens of his neighborhoods into excellent characters by interacting with them and not over-describing them is refreshing. It is their relationship with "Frankie" that brings the others in this first-person narrative alive, not just his descriptions of them. Finally, his ability to express his internal thoughts, feelings, angst, and frequent consternation is wonderful and developmentally appropriate for the different ages he traverses. When he is five he sounds like he is five; when he is 15 he sounds like he is 15.
My favorite character is Frankie because he is a lad who had no breaks and continues to plod along and succeed.
First, I love his accent. Second, his cadence and intonation provide excellent pacing for the story. Finally, his tone of voice was able to impart wit, humor, irritation, frustration, and irony I am not sure would have been as clearly evident with the written word alone.
When his young sister dies in New York... very sad.
I have enjoyed this work so much I have listened to it several times.
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